tv [untitled] August 20, 2013 9:00am-9:31am PDT
work together to meet the accreditation standards. so that the commission will reconsider its decision. the clock is ticking, and that's what we've got to do. >> the problem with that analogy is that the game is not a fair game if the referee has their own agenda -- (applause) [cheering and applauding] >> and is -- has already decided which team should win. that's the problem here. (applause) >> all right. would you like to continue with the presentation? >> that's pretty much where we're at. we're focusing on our action plan, continuing to make changes in the institution, and trying to get the word out that we're open, we're accredited, and we're enrolling students. >> [inaudible]. >> all right, everyone, i know this is a very passionate issue for all of us, but i want to
make sure we respect all speakers who are here. so, with that, i don't know if we need to call up hydra mendoza from the mayor's office. >> and if we can pass around the few items. it is the accrediting commission questions and answers for commonly asked questions and answers as well as the frequently asked questions for our students that we are promoting and hope that you will help us in promoting. and i thank you for your assistance and the city's for supporting city college. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> good morning, supervisors. i'm hydra mendoza, mayor lee's education [speaker not understood] advisor. thank you for having me in the committee. i was asked to give you an update on the involvement of the mayor and what we've been doing in support of city college. so, there absolutely no question the value of city college and many of us attended and many of us continue to support the work that they're doing. the mayor has not been asked --
in regards to his involvement, a lot of the work that we've been doing has been part much behind the scenes, offering up services that come from staff mostly. ~ absent and making sure that they have what's available in terms of our resources. and, so, we've been really focused on making sure that our students and our families continue to go to a high-quality educational institution that will not only bring them to higher education, but work force development. so, the mayor has provided several key staff members that include kate howard, our budget director, ben rosenfield our controller, mickey callahan and [speaker not understood] from the department of human resources, [speaker not understood], and myself. and although we haven't been in discussions about program decision making and those types of things, we're fully aware that departments can be helpful and supportive. and you know that our work in the city is deeply affected by
what happens to city college. more recently, we came together with several of the department heads that will be deeply impacted to city college not remain, which is what's driving our desire to keep accreditation in place in addition to the students and families. so, our office of economic and work force development has work force training classes [speaker not understood] tech s.f., the health care academy and the hospitality initiative line. our office of [speaker not understood] education and first five, preschool for all, metro academy metro -- excuse me, [speaker not understood], subsidized care and special development. our department of youth and families have our college readiness housed there with our bridge to success which has been incredibly meaningful for many of our sfusd students going into city college and we've actually increased significantly the number of enrollees that go to city college from san francisco unified school district. and our human services agency which supports cal work
[speaker not understood] ged [speaker not understood], those kinds of things, to bring our families there. we also want to make available our real estate department, the department of public works and mta. with the real estate department, this is actually something we did with san francisco unified school district and supervisor campos, you will remember this. there was a lot of title work that actually -- the school district owned but was under the city and i don't think that kind of an evaluation has ever been completed. so, just in terms of knowing what city college has in valuing property, the department of public works, we're going to be engaging with them to help with beautification. we have kids come onto the campus, make some efforts to clean and beautify. and then talking to mta on advertising on buses because enrollment is going to be one of our key pieces to helping city college. the mayor also has a mayor's education leadership council which is -- are the members of
all of the chancellors and presidents of every higher institution here in san francisco as well as the superintendent. so, we've engaged with them because it's really important for them to understand the challenges of one of their colleagues and the institution which many of their students come from. so, we've been working closely with them as well. they are clear on what they need to do and around accreditation and for the mayor to get professionally advised on how they can be supportive. and some of things that have come out of that is superintendent will send [speaker not understood]. it is important for us to ensure that kids understand it's still open, they're enrolling, and that credits are good. dr. leslie wong from san francisco state has set up a hotline to answer questions with regards to transfer students and they're preparing to take field trip students in the spring and he's been
working with his own trustees to see how these kinds of accommodationses can get made. usf golden gate university and other private institutions are looking to take and support students as needed for the four-year transition piece and do any support pieces that need to happen around that as well. so, the special trustee has been really clear about what his priorities are going to be and that a lot of that is around suring up the internal operations. and, so, that's where we've been focusing because we know that's what we can provide. we want to just make sure that they have access to any of our city resources around that departments can offer. so, for example, if it's around hiring or if it's around auditing or if it's key pieces where we have staffing that's available to help support or have another eye take a look at that, we're going to be providing that.
the mayor has been really focused on looking at the self-evaluation of the college, the recommendations that were developed by not only staff, but with the elected trustees. and we're really wanting to focus on getting those accomplished in a much swifter manner and that's where our energies have been placed. thank you. >> thank you. just a couple questions. so, on the pathway to accreditation, can you say what the mayor sees in terms of opportunities for the college to be able to transform itself? not just meeting accreditation standards, but is there a vision that the mayor has in terms of what more the college could be that could help guide the work efficacy departments do? >> i think it's really clear the importance in value, particularly around work force development and our higher education opportunities for our kids transferring over. that was our huge focus area. i have asked all of the
departments that i had mentioned to outline the areas that they are engaged and the impact that it would have if it was eliminated. and, so, i have that available to you so you can clearly understand how the city is very attached to city college and the work in which we provide together. you know, i think, i think a lot of what we're waiting for is the action plan that the special trustee is laying out so when dr. grella has an action plan in place we can be more intentional about the work we want to provide. we're not -- what we're certainly speaking with the state chancellor and dr. arduella what they need, but we also want to start thinking about what are the other areas in the city that we can be helpful. ~ at [speaker not understood] office, our aso, is it around real estate? is it around dpw? are there other areas we can be helpful? what we don't want to do is to tell the college, this is what
you need to do. i think the college is really clear about the challenges that it has, the report, the recommendation. there are some very clear areas that have identified what it is that they need to accomplish, and we want to be helpful in helping them get there. >> in terms of helping students go into higher education, i just met before the hearing with student leaders from the school and talked -- what i've heard, you know, i'm learning a lot about city college day to day, it seems. not in my jurisdiction, but talked about how there is a real achievement gap we have in our school district, which you are aware of and you've been fighting against. and that continues on for many students, black and brown students, pacific islander students, into city college. it seems like an area of change that is needed, probably addressed in acc/jc report,
wondering if the mayor has -- is looking at the outcomes for students of color like that and that's something that the mayor would like to be able to steer. >> right. so, in terms of the achievement gap, i mean, that's not the area that the mayor wants to focus on. i mean, that's what the college and organization -- institutions like sfusd need to pay close attention to. so, again, we're not going to be as the mayor's office focusing on how do we close the achievement gap, how do we make sure our kids are ready. although we do support many of our programs and dcyf has invested significant dollars and we have a $3 million grant with the gate foundation to develop success which actually aligns a lot of our work together. and through that work we are actually able to have priority placement for sfusd students so our students that were coming into city college weren't at city college for five or six years and then dropping off. it also allowed us to register students right away with kids that were thinking about going, but not really sure if they wanted to go, who have now --
are showing great strides and being successful at city college. so, our priority around that piece of it is to be able to support the programs that have shown growth and success and actually bridge the success was pointed out in the acc/jc's report as a program that has really been outstanding for the college in terms of aligning the work with our sfusd students. many of our kids that go from city college on to san francisco state require some remediation. so, we're looking at how do we ensure that our kids are actually ready to go on and move on. and that's what the mayor's council has actually been about, is to make sure all of the higher institutions are talking together and that there aren't these different waves of measurement. i'll give you a quick example. in san francisco unified, what we were considering proficient was a much smaller level of proficiency of city college and, so, how do we make sure
when we're graduating do we think we're proficient, that they, too, are going to be proficient and successful at city college. so, there have been ways we have been looking at both pieces. >> do you see any room for growth and improvement in that? you said outstanding which is pretty high level. where do you see things need to go in terms of strengthening that? we do hear from people -- i just had a packed office with students who feel that, you know, city college is not doing enough to make sure that people can actually spend less time, maybe two years instead of five or six years and going on to four-year institutions. so, what we can do in your work in the mayor's office. >> so, this is exactly where the report comes into play in terms of what city college is going to have to start looking at. so, we're not moving kids -- if classes aren't being available and we're not looking by on demand, [speaker not understood], those are the kind
of pieces that city college is going to have to think about in terms of restructuring and making sure that those classes are available so that our kids can move on. i think there's going to be some -- as part of the plan, really thinking about how do we -- how do we be more supportive and more efficient for our kids. the student services piece was a really large part of the recommendations that needed to be addressed in the plan. and, so, those are going to be some places that i think the college will have to seriously focus on. >> my last question, just again on the pathway to accreditation, what does the mayor see as threats to the college? a lot of people have been talking about possible sale of public assets, downsizing, that we're going to be cutting programs that have been very successful, people talk about our enrichment programs for adult education could be turned away. what does the mayor see as real
threats to what the college actually provides? >> i think all of those pieces are going to be really important in terms of [speaker not understood] and the history of the college. but again, that's not -- those are going to be decisions that the college will have to make based on -- and i will easily say for the mayor, that a lot of it has to be done based on data and information and really thinking about how do we make the college sustainable. our biggest concern is that a year out from now we have no college at all. so, our kid will have nowhere to go. our work force will have nowhere to be trained and our faculty and students will be out on the curb. so, we really want to pay our closest attention to making sure that within this year that we're making some immediate movement around what needs to get ticked off. now, the question around whether or not those are the proper things that need to get ticked off or whether or not
the acc/jc is putting things in front of us that are challenging, you know, i think we all face as higher educational institutions in general some minimum standards. we have to have standards for our kids and we want to make sure that what we're providing meets those standards. having said that, it is not the academic portion of city college that's in question. the academics that our faculty provides at city college -- (applause) >> -- is phenomenal. so, the accreditation commission isn't questioning what's happening in the classroom and how well that our kids are -- or whether or not our teachers are providing the proper -- meeting those proper standards. but there is some questions around whether or not the students are getting provided the proper support, whether or not there are some efficiencies in the finance area. so, you know, when there was a lot of conversation around let's give city college more
money, it wasn't that's what -- even if we gave city college more money, the foundation piece of it was our biggest concern. so, it wasn't that we wouldn't give city college more money. we're just not confident that the way in which the monies would get distributed and used are going to be efficient and that that foundational piece is intact. so, the -- [multiple voices] >> i really appreciate that component, the level of academic curriculum or standards that we have in the school. but that also -- there is a threat to that. there is a threat to some of our academic programs at city college not being around if the decisions that come down that we have to make are to [speaker not understood] some of these programs. i think that's something that -- [multiple voices] >> so, the program piece again is i think something city college really has to dig deep and think about what's going to
be the best for our kids to go on to higher ed and for work force to be, to be robust. and, so, you know, i think when the program piece discussions happen which may or may not happen during this evaluation process, during the review process or during the accreditation process, because if you read the recommendations, nowhere in it does it say, and cut esl. and cut wine tasting. it doesn't say what are the programs that have to be cut. what it does say, though, is that you have to be able to be self-sustaining. you have to be able to use -- to have a foundation of efficiency. you have to be able to run a college. that will be there for years to come. and, so, you know, again, focusing on the program piece of it, you know, we will have some opinions about programs
that deeply affect our residents, particularly around esl, but what we won't support are things like esl classes that have three students in it. so, and those are the kinds of things we're going to have to weigh in on. if it has three students in an esl class, we could be hiring a calculus teacher because calculus classes are packed. i mean, those, again, are going to be some of the really difficult decisions that city college will have to weigh in on. >> supervisor campos. >> thank you. thank you very much. let me say that i'm very grateful to hydra, commissioner mendoza. i'm glad you're involved in this because i think you have a great deal of experience and i think you bring a very important perspective. and i think that you have the respect of a lot of us. so, i'm glad to see you here. this is the fundamental question that i have. and i speak as someone who --
as a deputy city attorney, what's sent to the school district 10 years ago to help clean up the mess that had been left over by a prior administration and we did investigations, we did audits, and some folks even went to prison, as you know, because of that work. and, so, i'm all for financial responsibility, fiscal management. what i am having a hard time understanding is specifically what is it financially speaking, in terms of fiscal management, what is it that city college is not doing? i have yet to hear a clear articulation on that. (applause) >> and, so, i could have told you what was wrong with the school district before, right? i could have told you that it was because there what false information reported to the federal government on some grant applications, that there was an outside consultant that was actually running the, the
capital programs and was actually the only check and balance on whether or not money was being spent properly. there were no basic financial controls. that the contracting officer was actually, you know, nonobjective in reviewing contracts that were being awarded. i could give you a very clear list, laundry list. so, from the mayor's perspective, can you tell me what specifically it is that city college has not done, has failed to do? >> so, the way in which we're viewing this and the reason why we're as involved in it is primarily around the operations component of it again. so, again, you know, the academic piece of it, we're thrilled that that's intact and that's not something we're going to have to contend with. but when there are holes and loops and ways in which -- supervisor campos, i think the [speaker not understood] report will be very clear. so, let's set aside the accc/jc
report. if you look at the fit map report alone, you will see where the college is failing. so, when you have in place -- and the most current report will be coming out. i'm going to use a very general example of some of the challenges that the college is up against. so, when you have multiple employees, you know, in excess of over 50 that have access to payroll, for example, and there's not pieces in place that can manage that and you're down in your payroll department by 50%, there are some just structural pieces that can cause some real pains for the college. fortunately, the college hasn't had the -- i mean, there could be fraud. there could be criminal -- all
of those things have so much potential and i think the college is very fortunate that that hasn't happened. we haven't had issues with our trustees being engaged in that process. there hasn't been -- but there's potential. and there's the foundational component of it that needs to be put in place. and this is years -- so, this isn't two years ago, this isn't since the last election. this has been years that the college has been going down this path. i mean, you know, so -- and those things haven't been addressed. and as the standards rise and things need to be met differently and the population changes and we have more students at the college, all of those things, you know, tighter structures are all thing i think we would all want in place. you know, san francisco unified is a much better place for it. and we're seeing now the school
district actually is very focused on student achievement and you're starting to see those improvements. but we had to make some really hard decisions around how we were going to make sure that the places where there's some potential for our institution to fall on its knees were addressed and that's what this opportunity is. and it's another 12 months to show significant improvement. and i do want to just quickly say that the improvements that the trustees that are elected trustees and the staff made over this last year was huge. (applause) >> and it should be acknowledged because they worked really hard to make sure that they were addressing so many of the recommendations. but they also had 14 recommendations that they needed to address in a very short period of time. >> having worked on and being an important player in the changes that happened in the school district, i'm all for those standards. but let's take that example, the payroll as an example.
one of the things that does worry me, and i wonder if the mayor has this concern, if you guys have this concern, right, we have known about this payroll issue i think for quite sometime, have hadthctionv we? ~ haven't we? >> i don't know -- not with the example that i gave. >> okay. >> but we know that, we know that the structure of many of the departments at city college are not on solid ground. >> the thing that i don't understand is that the state chancellor had, you know, people from that department, that agency at city college for the last year. supposedly working on these things, right? and now it turns out that city college supposedly didn't do enough, right? even though it was following the guidance of these people who were advising them. and now the same people have
been assigned to work with city college to address the deficiencies that city college could not address with these people advising them. (applause) >> so, i'll tell you, in terms of common sense, having been a counselor on the school district, if the school district hired someone to help it comply with some of the deficiencies, an agency finds that the deficiencies are still there, i would question the school district rehiring that consultant to address those deficiencies. (applause) >> and, so, that's a fundamental concern that i have here, is that city college has been following the guidance and the advice of the very people that are now assigned to help it get out of this predicament. i think that's a concern. does the mayor's office think that's a concern? >> with all due respect, i'm going to give you a different perspective in the way in which we're looking at it. so, yes, the state chancellor's
office provided the ability forfeit map to come in. fit matt identifies what your problems are. they don't come in to fix your problems. and then the special trustee that was appointed a year ago, who is the same special trustee that is appointed now, now has different authority. so, when dr. arduella was appointed the first time around, it was a [speaker not understood], and it was basically to help the trustees move things along and to ensure that the decisions that were being made were not going to be contrary to what the college -- the direction the college was going in. so, the special trustee certainly respected the role that the elected trustees played. he not once had to veto anything, and that was really the power that he was given, was just to veto any decision that would have been made that was not in the benefit of the college. he did not have to do that.
the trustees made proper decisions. they moved things along. it's the pace in which things are happening and some of the areas that they were stuck. what the trustee now has is, you know, what is considered extraordinary powers. so, so, he can now make decisions more swiftly. there isn't a board that has to debate it and have deeper conversations around it, that it actually -- and he's following a plan. so, recommendations have been put forward about how to fix many of these issues. so, the difference between what he had before and where he is now i think is different. >> let's talk about specifics. what is it that the special trustee wanted to do before that did not happen? >> so, that -- that's something that dr. arduella is going to have to take into consideration. but he wasn't -- the supervisor wasn't put there to say, this is what you need to do. he was there to guide the trustees on what it is that needed to be done and that didn't unfortunately -- despite
all of the great work and amount of work that was accomplished, it wasn't enough. >> what i hear from the trustees and maybe they can speak to this when they have an opportunity to say something, is that they basically gave him carte blanche, that it was sort of like we're going to follow your guidance. and, so, if you're saying that that's not really what happened, i think that i want to hear the specifics. what exactly is it -- because i think it's one thing to make comments, but it's one thing to actually point specifically to what it is that wasn't done. and i would want to know that before i go down the path of simply saying, you know, i agree that this is the right way, you know. and, so, what is it that didn't happen? >> well, clearly in all of the reports that came back in terms of -- have you had a chance to read the acc/jc report? there are clearly areas that have not been accomplished. and, so, specifically -- >> yes.
>> -- there are -- i mean, a lot of that is the fit matt portion of it. >> so, what specifically, though? >> having measures in place around payroll, around, around the financial stability pieces of it. this is -- so, this is, this is the interim counselor working with her board of trustees to implement policies that will address those pieces. that's not the special -- at that time, the limited power that the special trustee had, that wasn't his responsibility to say, you need to go and get your staff to do this. the trustees were still -- our elected trustee were -- were very much in place to do those pieces. >> so it's the mayor's decision because of the trustees that we are where we are? >> no, we're not -- we're not interested at all in placing blame. what we're interested in is moving forward. so, these are the kinds of things that we are not interested in getting caught up in. we want to provide supports to the special trustee and to the
interim chancellor to ensure that they don't get stuck on some of these -- in some of these areas that are moving forward. >> i appreciate that. look, i do think it's a good thing that you're involved. i think that it brings a certain expertise and knowledge. but one thing that i would say, it's interesting to have this conversation because, you know, there is clearly things that need to be addressed. you know, the question is does it rise to the level of losing accreditation. a little while ago, this committee had a hearing where we heard from our external auditors, and the successor agency to the redevelopment agency was actually found to have a material weakness, which is as high a noncompliance of the audit as it gets. and it had to do, by the way, material weakness around finances. and, you know, what i -- i'm not happy that that happened, but instead of saying, let's close down the successor agency, i would mp